The Power of Opportunity(2015)
There are two types of people in life, the ones who occupy front row seats and watch their lives unravel, savoring the happy moments and reacting to the gloomy ones. Others, on the contrary, take charge of their lives, develop the script and try to control the events in their lives. The former are usually categorized under reactive, while the latter is grouped under proactive people.
Give it a thought; where can you classify yourself? Is your approach towards a reactive or a proactive life? Or better yet, what do you aspire to become? The choice is truly yours, but before you make a decision, you should be aware of the pros and cons of each.
For those who plan each and every detail of their lives and wish to take charge of it, a life plan comes in handy. What is a life plan? A life plan is, in simple words, a dream churner for various people. Everyone has the right to dream, but only a few fortunate ones have the willingness and ability to turn their dreams into a reality. A life plan helps you achieve just that, a direction and a way forward, so that you can embark on a journey of self-fulfillment and self-actualization.
Various critics often question the importance and the need for developing a life plan. These people usually belong to the school of thought, which believes that plans never work out and life has a sinister way of surprising us, at various points in time. What they fail to consider is that life plans are made for a person’s need for obtaining a direction in life. Typically, life plans help an individual in three main ways. Life plans provide clarity, in terms of the nature of the route to take in life, they help you juggle between various spheres of your life and most importantly, they provide you with peace of mind. Knowing that you have a certain degree of control over your life is, at times, oddly comforting and reassuring, especially from a psychological perspective.
Develop A Positive Vision
Do you have a vision in life? It does not have to be an elaborate one; a simple mental picture would suffice. A vision is generally a visualization of where you would want to see yourself, say a few years down the road. A vision is an accumulation of various aspirations and dreams. In a nutshell, a vision is a preferred way of life. Nobody can stop you from dreaming, but that does not mean you become a day dreamer. Convert your dreams into visions and then give it all you have got to materialize it into reality.
Vision Board Sessions
One of the most creative and constructive ways to motivate yourself to accomplish your visions and goals is to create a ‘vision board’. Have you ever heard about vision boards before? They are widely used for corporate and entrepreneurial purposes, but can serve to be extremely helpful in shaping your future. A vision board is a visual illustration of your experiences, achievements and aspirations. You can place it either at your work station, at home, or somewhere you can see it every day. A vision board acts as a constant reminder of your goals and ambitions and to urge you to accomplish them.
Is a Vision Board Session Effective?
Research reveals that approximately 90% of how our brain works is stored in the visual part of your memory. Think of it this way, if you are planning a vacation to the Bahamas, you are more likely to develop a mental picture of the beach and the sand. These visions are generally at the back end of our brains and a vision board helps to extract these images and refine them in a sequential manner. Since a vision board is so illustrative in nature, it often extracts visions from your subconscious mind. Try designing a vision board and, if you are lucky, you will discover long lost visions, which you once used to cherish.
How It Works?
A vision board session is not only about collecting magazines and pasting relevant images on a board. While cutting and pasting pictures, you should ask yourself of why you made a particular choice. This will provide you with the opportunity to voice out your visions, goals and ambitions and will further help you filter each of them, in order of their importance in your life. Meanwhile, you will also be able to identify the various obstacles, which have prevented you from achieving and fulfilling your aspirations.
Who are they For?
If you think that vision board sessions are only for creative and artistic people, you will be surprised with its results for even the most basic of things. Vision boards can be for anyone looking for a sense of purpose and direction in life. Vision boards are specifically useful when you are going through drastic changes in life and when your priorities alter, over time. It might also be a good idea to develop a vision board during the start of a new year, so that you can plan out your life, based on your new year’s resolutions.
So, what are you waiting for? There is a plethora of vision board sessions being conducted, almost all over the world. Try to find out the nearest one and enroll yourself. However, if there aren’t any classes being offered in your vicinity, there are various online sessions available. All you need to do is book them in advance. Tryout a session, chances are you will experience a renewed sense of clarity and purpose in your life. A vision board will not only help you focus on your destination, it would also help you figure out how to get there. Take life as a journey and its obstacles as challenges, you would be surprised to discover your inner strengths and capabilities. For what it's worth, a vision board can be a fun and exciting experience.
You cannot be the Jack of all traits in your life. Even when you feel that you are swamped with chores and activities, you need to realize that all tasks and responsibilities in your life cannot be positioned on the same tangent. Some are less important than others and need to be prioritized accordingly.
Prioritizing your life is never an easy task and it always involves opportunity cost. This simply means that you must learn to forgo certain tasks or elements such as time, cost or resources, in order to accomplish your goals and ambitions. With respect to prioritizing, follow the tips highlighted below:
Is Everything Equally Important?
The first and foremost question that you need to ask yourself is whether you think that everything is of equal and unrivaled significance. An effective way of answering this question is to ask the people involved and those who would be affected by this process. Be it your family, colleagues, subordinates or friends, you need to ask them if they need any help or if there is any work that needs to be completed on an urgent basis. If nothing, this would help you chalk out your calendar dates for the next week, to say the least.
Another crucial way to answer this question is to work back, towards your deadlines and assess the hours of work they require and prioritize them on the basis of due dates. This would provide you with a sense of direction and purpose. Tasks or projects which require the maximum amount of input from your end can be prioritized first on your to-do list, followed by the least important and demanding ones.
Organize Your Tasks
You cannot just randomly decide to perform a specific task every day, there needs to be a properly laid out guide or manual. For your own sake, you need to have a system of accountability and productivity in place; otherwise, you would end up either repeating tasks or skipping the important ones. For starters, try to make do with to-do lists and later on when you get the hand of it, progress to advanced methods such as Gnatt charts or Asana. However, make sure that you are comfortable with your current methods, or else you would hardly use them later on.
Follow the Triple Constraint Model
From a project management perspective, the triple constraint model would be of particular importance, not only for project managers, but also for anyone who wishes to prioritize their day-to-day activities. Envision an equilateral triangle, with the three sides denoting time, cost and scope. It is practically impossible to reach all three sides of the triangle- this is where opportunity cost kicks in. If you increase the time to perform a specific task, its cost and scope would naturally increase.
In order to effectively prioritize your tasks, you need to work around the triangle and try to find the optimal combination of the three elements. This can be quite a demanding and difficult task, but with practice you will eventually get the hang of it. Of course, a lot depends upon the situation at hand. If your task is time critical, you would probably focus more on getting it done in a timely manner, paying little or no heed to the cost and scope implications.
As mentioned earlier, it is practically impossible for you to perform everything. Therefore, delegation is often referred to as the essence of prioritizing. You need to delegate the slightly less significant or pressing tasks to co-workers, subordinates or even friendly, who are willing to help. Delegation is crucial for your project or task’s success or failure, since it allows you to focus on the more demanding and pressing issues in your life.
Assess your life, try to analyze it’s worth. Ask yourself, do you like the same, old monotonous way of life? Do you want to do something to make it better? Or are you too afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try to bring a change in your life?
Challenging yourself every step of the way, is the single most effective way to bring about necessary changes in your life, don’t you agree? Life is a challenge in itself and if you truly want to get out of the web of the same, old obligations and responsibilities, just step out of your cocoon and embrace life for whatever it has to offer. Whenever you are faced with a challenge, do not shy away from it, follow the tips listed below to make the most out of it.
Various challenges come and go. Some people embrace them with their head held up high, while others simply choose to shirk their roles and responsibilities, until the calamity gets washed away. Instead of meekly entering the storm, enter it head first, all the while, preparing yourself for the worst-case scenario. You should know that life has a bitter and ugly side and the sooner you accept and acknowledge that fact, the better it would be for you.
Fear is the most natural emotion your body can ever feel, especially during challenging times. Running away from fear would simply multiply it, embracing it with open arms would help subside it. Fear usually acts as a signaling mechanism and warns your body of the danger that lies ahead. However, what you need to realize is that, sometimes, all it takes is a major breakdown, for a breakthrough to occur. Always remember, fear would always be there, there will come a point when opportunities will cease to exist.
Remember Your Accomplishments
Your achievements and accomplishments shouldn’t just be in the shape of a medal or trophy, forgotten on the shelf. They should be a constant reminder of the various challenges you faced and the emotions you experienced during that journey. Try to remember how nervous and afraid you felt at the start of it, but also assess where it eventually got you. Take pride in your achievements and learn from your failures that is the true essence of life.
It is not that you do not have the capabilities to tackle a challenge, it’s only because of your attitude that you end up suffering. Many of you make the mistake of over-thinking and only see the daunting task that lies ahead. Your focus should be on breaking down the task into a series of achievable targets. The trick is to take one step at a time and deal with the obstacles that come your way, one at a time.
Learn From Your Mistakes
You know what’s as real and sure as death? Failure. No matter how capable or successful you might be, at a certain point in your life, you will have to deal with failure. Many people take failure as a sign of discouragement and as an end, in itself. You will fall down, you are bound to stumble, but the greatness of a person lies in dusting himself up and standing up for what he truly believes in. At the end of the day, when you look back, failure should only be taken as a tool to learn from your past mistakes and prevent them in the future.
Limiting Beliefs VS Creating Opportunity
Belief. Hope. Faith. These are the three bold words, which are always easier said than done. It is said that beliefs alter a person’s outlook towards life and in troubled water, when the world shows you a cold shoulder, faith is what determines whether or not you reach the shore.
What is faith? Faith is looking at the darkness and spotting a speck of light, faith is taking the plunge, not knowing whether or not you will splash in the water or fall flat on the ground. Faith is that little voice inside your head, one that urges you to move forward, leaving behind the demons of your past.
Having said that, some people have what it’s called “limiting beliefs” and these people need a bit of extra push to take a life-altering plunge. There are quite a few limiting beliefs that actually prevent you from being positive:
Different People are Weird
When you are used to a certain way of things or certain types of people, accepting diversity not only becomes difficult, at times it becomes impossible. What you need to understand is that not everyone is alike and life, at the end of the day, is not perfect, in any sense. You need to develop a degree of acceptability, so that you can give them a chance, you never know they might present to you the opportunity of a lifetime.
People are either “good” or “evil”
Some of you either filter out people and place them on a pedestal, or they simply position them on the lowest levels of morality. This means that they only have two measuring criteria for people, good or evil. Life does not work that way, every individual has a flair of good and bad, the degree of each varies and in certain instances one outshines the other. You need to give people a fair chance and let them prove themselves, before making hasty generalizations and making poor judgement.
Thoughts are an Indicator
People with limiting beliefs are usually unhappy or pessimistic, which is why they are always consumed with negative thoughts. They take their thoughts at face value and do not stop to fight off their feelings and emotions. For example, if they are getting a sinking feeling about a particular decision in life, they would take that as a sign to abandon that particular endeavor.
Control Comes With Love
Negative people usually believe that when they love someone, they are automatically given the right to control them. On the contrary, true love does not really demand authority and control; it is based on the foundations of trust and loyalty.
Want for More and More
Chasing after money, power and status lead you nowhere and makes you lust for more and more. This constant chase often makes you greedy and robs you of your inner peace and happiness. This simply means that no matter what you accomplish, you can never be truly happy and satisfied and you will keep yearning for more, all your life.
All the Bad Things Happen To Me
If you think that all the bad things happen to you, you are surely a victim of self-pity. Self-pity is such an unsettling state of mind that it simply erodes away all traces of joy and happiness in your life. Therefore, even if an opportunity comes by, such a person will not realize it, amidst the cloud of negative thoughts.
Create Positive Energy
Believe it or not, all of us produce and emit energies or vibes; these determine our personalities and how we behave under various circumstances. The energies intrinsic to your personality are usually channelized and externalized by your thoughts, feelings and actions. These, in turn, affect the people around you in either a positive or negative manner.
Various kinds and types of energies are around us, how you interpret those energies varies entirely from person to person. In order to develop the right kind of attitude towards life, you need to create an aura of positive energy around you. If this doesn’t help, try to surround yourself in a positive and elating environment so that the positive vibes can rub off on you.
Ways to Obtain Positive Energy
If you think positive energy represents rays of sunlight shining upon you, think again. Positive energy is nothing but a state of mind, it is how you interpret changes around you and translate them in your personality. If you wish to create positivity around you, try to make a list of things that make you feel good. Therefore, the meaning of positive energy is a subjective concept and differs from person to person. Categorically, the following things might help in flooding your life with positivity:
-Close proximity to nature
-Maintaining a diary or journal
Tips and Tricks
Positivity cannot be bought off an auction; it takes considerable time and effort to build a sphere of positivity around you. However, the following might help you think and feel positively:
- As soon as you wake up, resolve to have a good day. A positive attitude really helps, especially if you develop one early in the morning. Always remember that only you have the power to turn things around and make them happen for you.
- There are plenty of soap operas out there; you do not want your life to become one, do you? You should manage your relationships and try to reduce the number of emotional encounters with your partner. At the end of the day, you don’t want more emotional baggage.
- You need to understand that no family is perfect; each has its own set of differences and problems. The sooner you make peace with this idea, the better it would be for you. Embrace the shortcomings of each of your family members and try to work around them, if you truly want to be a source of positive energy.
- Embark on a journey of self-improvement and self-assessment. You can do this alone or ask a friend to accompany you. This journey can be as simple as taking a foreign language class together with your friend or spouse. Know that you are not alone; you have all the emotional support system you need. This would really help you appreciate people for the positive role they play in your life.
- Use your imagination and form a rosy picture of how you want to see yourself, later down the road. Visualizing a positive, future state of affairs would probably motivate you to convert that image into a reality.
- Everyone has their own set of issues in life. If you truly want to be the source of positivity for yourself and people around you, helping a friend in need is at times the best thing to do. Helping someone out in times of need would make you feel a lot better about yourself and will clear your head. You would be able to focus on solving your problems in a better and more effective manner.
Life is a never ending road, or so it seems but it is in no way a smooth and uninterrupted path. You will not cruise through this path all your life. Always remember that good things never come easily in life, you really need to put in all you’ve got.
Before you embark upon any journey, prepare yourself for various obstacles and blocks along the way. How you tackle these challenges truly depicts your inner strength and capabilities. These blocks are not always physical in nature; they usually come in the form of mental demons, ready to pounce from time to time. Broadly classified, almost everyone faces the following obstacles, at least once in their life:
Failure to Set Goals
Some people simply cannot set goals and targets in their life, which makes it difficult for them to reach a particular destination. Having nothing to achieve in the future is a serious mental block, especially when you lose focus and direction in life. Like it or not, you need to list down your goals, so that you have a way forward. If you are afraid of setting goals because you think you might not be able to achieve them, you need to realize that everything in life is a gamble, it is completely up to you, how you wish to play your cards.
If you think that fear is a multi-headed monster, standing in your way, preventing you to succeed in life, so be it. Imagine yourself as a dragon slayer, ready to look at fear in the eye and slash it in two. Fear is the most natural feeling you can feel, especially when you face obstacles along the way. The truest greatness of a person lies in embracing his fears and taking life as a challenge.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon
Demons of the Past
Everyone has emotional baggage from the past; some keep it hidden behind doors, while others simply act as if they do not exist. The most constructive way to deal with such demons is to face them and let them out of your system, for once and all. Holding onto your past would only stop you from moving forward and achieving success in life. The trick is to rid yourself of all the negativity of the past and make peace with what the future has to offer.
During the course of your life, you will face many distractions, which might turn into obstacles if you get derailed from your original mission. Your eyes should be on the prize and any distractions that come your way should shortly be disregarded. Do not try to find comfort in unhealthy activities like smoking, drinking or drug consumption. Life might present many shortcuts to you, but always remember that opting for them might prove to be highly destructive for your future, dreams and ambitions.
A man is known by the company he seeks. If you surround yourself with negative people, you might never be able to achieve your goals in life. Nothing can be as big a block along the way, as bad company. Your friends play a major role in shaping your thoughts, feelings and actions. If the people in your life are unsupportive of your beliefs and goals, you need to find the kind of people who believe in you. Emotional support is crucial and even an ounce of negativity from a loved one can act as a boulder on your path to self-fulfillment.
When life gives you lemons, what should you do? Most people would say make lemonade but shouldn’t you instead save them for rainy days? Either way, life will give you your fair share of troubles and sorrows. The question is, how are you going to deal with it? Will you face your troubles with your head held high or will you run for cover and wait until the storm abates? Research reveals that the best way to deal with your fears is to confront them. Know that you control your fears and it is not the other way around. The most proven method for doing so is to mentally form a picture in your head. Imagine the worst-case scenario that you could have to face in a situation that you fear.
When you come to terms with the worst possible thing that can happen to you, you automatically prepare yourself for whatever you are about to face. The worst-case scenario can be anything. It could be a modification of your past incidents or an imaginary or hypothetical situation that is created around the characters in your life. You learn to accept life as it is, for its bitterness and ugliness and consider it as a true test of your capabilities.
In other words, you take up life as a challenge. You are willing to put in all that it takes in order to come out as a survivor. Thinking of the worst-case scenario gives you a will to fight back, knowing that you have nothing to lose and realizing that you have gambled everything that is dear to you. In such a situation, fear becomes an ally, not an enemy. In return, you come to terms with the idea of conquering fear and fighting off your demons.